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Computational Linguistics / Recommendation on Diachronic Corpus
« Last post by Jennifer Shen on December 13, 2018, 11:19:54 PM »
I am a graduate student of linguistics and my thesis focuses on language change. Currently, I am looking for a diachronic corpus ranging from 1600s to 1900s. Your recommendation will be much appreciated. Thank you.
Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by aramis720 on December 13, 2018, 08:39:44 PM »
Belated thanks again. My Finnish friend didn't recognize anything. But what about Cornish or a relative thereof? It sounds to my untrained ear a bit like this woman:
Morphosyntax / Re: Spelling -ing form
« Last post by Natalia on December 12, 2018, 02:33:17 AM »
Thank you for your explanation.
Morphosyntax / Re: Spelling -ing form
« Last post by Daniel on December 10, 2018, 06:09:00 PM »
That's not exactly the pattern. The pattern is that short vowels tend to be followed by double consonants. So "siting" would be pronounced like "citing" or "sighting", while "sitting" maintains the short vowel. Most monosyllabic verbs have short vowels, so that's the general pattern.

What you'd need to test this is a pair of verbs with a short/long contrast. For example, "tow" (long, rhymes with "toe") and "bow", although that's really a diphthong so it would be treated like a vowel I guess. Of course "towing" would not have doubling, but then also "bowing" does not, so it's ambiguous in pronunciation between long a short vowels. But of course English often is ambiguous in spelling anyway, so that's no surprise.

The explanation, if there is one, comes from historical reasons: the doubling of consonants is an artifact of much earlier usage (probably going back all the way to Old English) representing syllable patterns. Compare Italian where doubled consonants are pronounced differently, and therefore correspond also to different vowel pronunciations (consonant clusters also were an indication of syllable weight in Latin). So this really isn't a rule as much as an accidentally pattern based on old usage, which then happened to generalize a bit because it was useful. Doubled consonants in English aren't pronounced differently, but they're like the opposite of a "final silent -e" marking long vowels in the previous syllable.

Of course for W in particular the explanation is in the name: it was originally, literally a double-U, a sort of in-between consonant/vowel letter (like Y). The result is that it doesn't double like other letters, plus the lack of many times when it would obviously need to be doubled. Lack of existing examples is one way that a spelling rule won't spread.

Regardless, if you Google "bowwing" you'll find several websites correcting the spelling, suggesting that some English speakers do try to extend the pattern to those words, probably especially when the vowel is short.

A-vowels in English are especially weird, because they have three possible pronunciations: "bat" /æ/, "draw" /a/, and "late" /e:/. Your example of "draw" would make sense as "drawwing", but I'm guessing that's not how it works specifically because of the confusion of the three forms of A not fitting a simple long/short distinction.

In the end, any English "spelling rules" aren't rules at all, because English spelling doesn't follow rules, just vague patterns, and there are always exceptions. Some studies have shown that Chinese learners of English do very well with English spelling by memorizing many common word forms, rather than learning these patterns. In other words, treating English spelling as arbitrarily as Chinese characters works well for them because they're used to the memorization strategy. Other learners, and native speakers too, have trouble when they try to follow the "rules" because they just don't work all the time. Native speakers therefore have some general patterns learned as probable rules, but also memorize many exceptions. Sometimes it has to do with particular letters, like W just not being doubled.

Remember, English spelling was standardized about 1500 years ago (following the invention of the printing press), and aside from some minor changes (like differences in British and American spelling of "color"), it hasn't shifted since. At the same time, at the beginning the Great Vowel Shift substantially changed how vowels were pronounced, then for several hundred years pronunciation continued to change too, and the result is a big mess that doesn't follow "rules", often not even patterns. English spelling is etymological rather than logical. English spelling reform is a whole different topic, which has often been a popular idea but never a popular action, and there are some problems with it, especially two big ones: (1) then we wouldn't be able to read most of the internet, or Shakespeare, unless we also taught the "old" spelling; and (2) surprisingly, almost all spelling contrasts, no matter how odd, are pronounced differently in some dialect of English, so any changes would start to collapse those to a standard pronunciation. There's also the question of what it would look like: spelling English in IPA (for example) just looks wrong, and very un-English. So for now, lots of memorization...
Morphosyntax / Spelling -ing form
« Last post by Natalia on December 10, 2018, 01:04:53 PM »
According to the grammar rule, in one-syllable verbs ending in consonant-vowel-consonant we double the last consonant, as in sit > sitting.

Why don't we double the consonant in verbs like "draw" /drɔː/, grow /ɡrəʊ/etc.? Is it because we must look at the sound, not the written letter?
Full Title: Conference on Asian Linguistic Anthropology 2020
Short Title: The CALA 2020

Date: 05-Feb-2020 - 08-Feb-2020
Location: Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Contact Person:
     Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hazlina Abdul Halim
     Head, Dept. of Foreign Languages
     Faculty of Modern Languages & Communication
     Universiti Putra Malaysia

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; General Linguistics

Language Family(ies): Afroasiatic; Altaic; Austro-Asiatic; Austronesian; Indo-European; Japanese Family; Latin Subgroup; Sino-Tibetan

Call Deadline: 09-Apr-2019

CFP Description:

Following the success of the CALA 2019, The Conference on Asian Linguistic Anthropology 2019, in Cambodia, we announce The CALA 2020, February 5-8, 2020, at The University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Purpose and Structure - The CALA 2020 invites Linguists, Anthropologists, Linguistic and Cultural Anthropologists, Culturologists, Sociologists, Political Scientists, and those in related fields pertinent to Asia.

Details - The University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia, February 5-8, 2020

- The American Anthropological Association (Official Partner)
- Taylor and Francis Global Publishers (Official Publishing Partner)
- 60 academic institutions globally (Nanyang Technological University, University of Hawai'i, Temple University, University College London, SOAS, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Indian Institute of Anthropologists, and so forth).
- Scientific Committee of over 100 academics globally prominent in Linguistic Anthropology and related fields

Theme - Themed Asian Text, Global Context, The CALA 2020 will represent over 300 years of East-West global interaction, communication, and transnationalism. Throughout, symbolisms of Asian 'texts' have been significantly emphasized, (re)interpreted, contested, and distorted, while employed for cultural and political purpose. Asian texts have become highly representational, authenticating, and legitimizing sociopolitical and cultural devices, and their potency should not be underestimated. Never have these texts shown more significance than in the present, as their intensified use, and their qualities in Asian identities long contested, seek this Linguistic Anthropological exploration.

Call for Papers:

Publications - We advise that several Special Journal issues are planned, as well as a collection of Monographs, from papers submitted to the CALA, that meet the requirements of submission, review and acceptance. The papers selected will all be published with Top-Tier Ranking journals, and their Publishers. Here, ample assistance will be provided to revise manuscripts for publication.

Presentation lengths:
Submitters must plan around the following:
- Colloquia - 1.5 hours with 3-5 contributors (Part A and B is possible, thus 6-10 contributors)
- General paper sessions - Approx. 20-25 minutes each, which includes 5 minutes for questions/responses
- Posters - to be displayed at designated times throughout the CALA

Abstract and poster proposals should address one or more of the key strands related to Asian countries and regions:

– Anthropological Linguistics
– Applied Sociolinguistics
– Buddhist studies and discourses
– Cognitive Anthropology and Language
– Critical Linguistic Anthropology
– Ethnographical Language Work
– Ethnography of Communication
– General Sociolinguistics
– Islamic Studies and discourses
– Language, Community, Ethnicity
– Language Contact and Change
– Language, Dialect, Sociolect, Genre
– Language Documentation
– Language, Gender, Sexuality
– Language Ideologies
– Language Minorities and Majorities
– Language Revitalization
– Language in Real and Virtual Spaces
– Language Socialization
– Language and Spatiotemporal Frames
– Multifunctionality
– Narrative and Metanarrative
– Nonverbal Semiotics
– Poetics
– Post-Structuralism and Language
– Semiotics and Semiology
– Social Psychology of Language
– Textualization, Contextualization, Entextualization

Abstract submissions - The Call for Abstracts is now open, at the below links, which contact all pertinent information.

Anthropological Excursion - Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia

See website at, and at for full CFP and all information.
Linguist's Lounge / Re: "A little Greek (and linguistics?) is a dangerous thing"
« Last post by Daniel on December 03, 2018, 12:34:06 PM »
From that, I'd think that comparative/historical linguistics would be most interesting for you-- either a typological approach like I suggested above, or historical/Indo-European as panini suggested (or both).
Linguist's Lounge / Re: "A little Greek (and linguistics?) is a dangerous thing"
« Last post by Matt Longhorn on December 03, 2018, 05:23:41 AM »
The important question then is what you want-- what are your goals in studying linguistics?
I had originally taken up an interest in linguistics as I want to be able to better understand the new testament in its original language. That might sound kind of hokey to many people, but a lot of claims are made about what the Greek says and there isn't always much basis for the assertions. Linguistic analyses of the NT are now a lot more common, but I wanted to get a better theoretical basis for understanding the text and analysing claims made about it.
Honestly though, now I seem to have caught the bug and find it fascinating in its own right.

Linguist's Lounge / Re: "A little Greek (and linguistics?) is a dangerous thing"
« Last post by Daniel on December 03, 2018, 11:13:54 AM »
Following panini's reply, I think I should respond to this as well:
Re. contributions - I think I will leave that to the big players other than starting to work it into my teaching of first year Greek
The important question then is what you want-- what are your goals in studying linguistics? Panini's points are helpful there. As for a "contribution", I just meant whatever you plan to do-- even if that's just feeling like you understand the material (what material?). Even if you don't plan to publish, most people who study something want to understand it well enough to synthesize and probably repeat ideas, maybe even consider some of their own. So picking the right textbook (etc.) will depend on what you plan to understand, etc. You don't need to be committed to writing a book though!


Amusingly, picking up on something panini said, I wonder if browsing the internet for ridiculous linguistics "theories" (nonsense) would be a good way to start in a way: learning by example of what not to do. There are a few examples on this forum, but hundreds elsewhere if you look for them. I'm not sure that would really be productive, but maybe it would be entertaining along the way. The biggest error, I think, is in (half?) understanding a theory/method/etc., and then misapplying it to the wrong questions by assuming that it's either "all or none" in the analysis, not considering alternatives, as a logical fallacy. Watch out for that, among other things. And I also think that often starts when someone doesn't ever get to the question you asked here, Matt, and instead thinks they're ready to solve everything with a few ideas from an intro textbook (or just Wikipedia).
(There's also at least one book called "Strange Linguistics" that covers some of the bizarre theories that have been proposed over the years. Lots of amusing anecdotes in it, but actually quite long and a little dry at times, oddly technical, not just light reading, but still might be interesting.)
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory
« Last post by Daniel on December 03, 2018, 11:06:53 AM »
For example, you reject my claim that HPSG, GB, LFG, RG are kinds of Generative Grammar, proffering that each is a theory of its own.
No-- I agree those are GG, based on the same idea, but consider them to be distinct theories. I can't consider them to be the same theory, or even flavors of the same theory, because they have fundamentally different assumptions and mechanics, to the point where there is almost no prediction left. If it's extremely "fixable" (flexible) in that way, I don't see how it can be called a "Theory".
That suggests that you see a theory as being an isolated object that isn't logically connected to other such objects.
Correct: I understand Theories (capital T, with whatever qualifier is added) to be large, relatively well accepted proposals that are something of a coherent whole.
I, however, would maintain that there can be competing theories within a theory. Competing theories arise because, in the context about a certain level of agreement and shared principles, there are still details of implementation – that is, every theory is incomplete (except, I hear, optics), and therefore room for further investigation and disagreement. I refer you to Quantum Mechanics and the numerous theories within that theory – usually known as "interpretations".
"Interpretations" or "theoretical variants" would be fine, but, no, I wouldn't call them theories.
But again, it doesn't matter much what we personally call them, since I think we agree about the substance (e.g., different versions of GG are related and have some shared foundation).
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